The strong relationship between the military and Royal Wootton Bassett was honoured when RWB Auctions was officially opened (January 15 2024).
Auction house founder Jon White and his team welcomed Group Captain Mike Neville of the RAF and Corps Captain Jason Phillips of REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers) to reveal the names of the two salerooms at the £3m auction house which has now officially opened in the High Street of Royal Wootton Bassett.
Group Captain Neville revealed that one sale room is called ‘Hercules’, to honour the long association that the town had when 47 Squadron was based at RAF Lyneham, just a few miles away, and was home to the RAF’s Hercules aircraft.
The other sale room, ‘Centurion’, honours today’s relationship between the town and MoD Lyneham, now home to the regimental headquarters of REME and its museum. Centurion was named after a famous armoured tank built at the end of the Second World War and which stayed in production until the late 1960s and in service until the 1980s. It is widely seen as one of the most successful tank designs ever produced.
“It gives us great pleasure to continue to foster the Army’s relationship with Royal Wootton Bassett, so we are privileged to have the opportunity to be here”, said Corps Captain Jason Phillips.
Well over 50 people attended the opening of RWB Auctions which is the result of several years of planning and construction. The first two-day sale with more than 1,000 lots takes place next week and includes a rare World War 1 scrapbook detailing the experience of a British woman on the frontline in France during the war.
Jon White said: “This is a momentous day for us all and has been the result of a lot of hard work. I’d like to thank the Local Enterprise Partnership for their support and my team without which none of this could have happened.
“I’d also like to say that this is an example of something positive on the High Street and we are all proud of that. We often see and believe that the High Street is dying – it is not, it is simply changing and businesses do have great opportunities to grow, succeed and support their communities.”
RWB Auctions has been a passion project for Jon White who first opened Old Bank Antiques next door more than five years ago. Jon now has a team of 30 people running his businesses – RWB Auctions, Old Bank Antiques and Britannia Coin Company all under the umbrella of Gold Traders UK.
Items in the auction room’s inaugural sale of antiques, fine art, jewellery, silver, coins, medals, clocks and collectables, can be viewed on Friday, January 19 9:30 am to 5 pm, Monday, January 22 9:30 am to 7 pm, and Tuesday, January 23 9:30 am to 5 pm before the sale on Wednesday, January 24 and Thursday, January 25 from 10 am both days.
Anyone who wants to bid will have to register - the buyer’s premium is 10 per cent plus VAT.
*Picture shows (l to r) Group Captain Mike Neville of the RAF, Corps Captain Jason Phillips of REME, Steve Bucknell, general manager of RWB Auctions and Jon White, founder of RWB Auctions. Image taken by Freya Thurland.
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